Coffee machines buying guide

Whether you're a casual coffee drinker or an expert in espresso, we have the ideal coffee machine for your home. Our guide deciphers the difference between different types of machines, and explains premium features – so all you have to do is relax and enjoy your coffee

Choose your coffee machine

If you're pushed for time in the mornings, just pop a pod into this machine, press the button and out comes your espresso. You have a choice of coffee beans, which have been blended, roasted and ground, then hermetically sealed in a pod for freshness.

You can even send your order to the machine via an app with a smart tech machine, while others have frothers for milky drinks.

  • Good value
  • Convenient, quick, affordable and neat
  • Ideal for 1-2 people
  • Compact size is ideal for worktops

 

Good to know:

 

  • Makes espresso coffee
  • Pods should be recycled
  • You can only use pods/capsules for this type of machine
  • Limited to the pod varieties

 

Shop pod machines

Smart coffee machines

Milk frother pod machines

Coffee pods

If you want lattes and americanos with minimal effort, invest in bean-to-cup. Pour whole coffee beans into the top, and the machine grinds them to make espresso on demand for fresh barista-style coffee.


Some models will automatically froth the milk for you, while others let you do it yourself.

  • Makes everything from cappuccino to americano
  • Coffee bean to cup in one machine
  • Great for dinner parties
  • Fast, high-quality and consistent

 

Good to know:

 

  • Makes espresso coffees (rather than filter)
  • Needs a bit more attention when cleaning
  • Pricier than pod machines, but more variety in coffee

 

All bean-to-cup machines

Machines with auto milk frothers

Machines with manual milk frothers

 

Espresso purists will love a traditional pump machine. With this machine you can grind, tamp and craft your own espresso, for a truly handmade coffee.

Some of these machines come with milk frothers, expanding your coffee range to include cappuccinos and other milky drinks.

  • Hands-on espresso making
  • Ideal for 1-2 people
  • Some have a milk frother for lattes and cappuccinos

 

Good to know:

 

  • Ideal if you know how to use a manual machine, or want to learn
  • You might need a coffee grinder if you have whole beans

 

All pump machines

Coffee grinders

 

Filter coffee is a coffee classic, made by slowly dripping water through ground beans into a warmed jug below.

Percolators are more complex. The water starts below and the coffee grounds in a chamber above. You heat the jug, and as the water heats it rises through a tube into the coffee chamber. As water comes in the pressure grows, so the water is pushed through the coffee and back into the chamber below. For every one of these cycles, the coffee gets stronger

  • Good value
  • Classic coffee style
  • Ideal for more people
  • Percolators make hotter, stronger coffee
  • Choose from electric or manual percolators

 

Good to know:

 

  • Only makes black coffee
  • You'll need a coffee grinder if you have whole beans

 

Filter coffee and percolators

Cafetieres

 

Did you know…

Freezing your ground coffee or beans isn’t the best way to keep them fresh:
instead, place in an opaque and airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

Coffee is at its best brewed at 91-96°C, which is why no coffee machines have 'extra hot’ coffee settings

Making the perfect coffee

If you love a latte or crave cappuccino, you might want to think about investing in a machine designed to make your preferred drink. We've listed machines that specialise in coffee shop specials.


Read our Latte of luxury article to learn more about how to make your favourite cup.

 

View all
latte
Cappuccino
Espresso
Americano
flat white

Learn more about coffee machine features

Automatic and manual milk frothers

A milk frother heats and froths milk, for creamy milk that's perfect for lattes, cappuccinos and more. Automatic frothers do this within the machine, while manual frothers have a tube coming out of the machine that you can use to froth your own milk

Bar pressure

Look for 15-19 bar as the optimum bar pressure. Good bar pressure is essential, as it means steam meets the coffee granules at the right speed; too slow and it can result in bitter espresso

Thermoblock

To achieve an excellent flavour it's important that you brew coffee at the right temperature. Thermoblocks heats water to the perfect temperature (about 90°C) using a pump

Filter holder

This holds the coffee granules and should be kept warm. Basic models have aluminium holders, while more expensive models have brass ones that retain the heat for longer

 

Valve

Most machines have a mechanical valve to control water flow. Top-of-the-range machines have solenoid valves: these increase water pressure and shut off as soon as you finish the extraction

Wattage

The higher the wattage the faster the water is heated: high wattage machines are good if you are making several espresso

Smart technology

Some machines can connect to an app on your smartphone or tablet, so you can order your coffee from bed or as you're on the way home, and it'll be waiting for you

 

Accessories for your machine

Coffee grinders
Milk frothers
Coffee and cleaning accessories